EU-US negotiations: an opportunity to grab for an increased protection of origin wines

Brussels, 14 June 2013. The Foreign Affairs Council adopted today a negotiating mandate for the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. EFOW, the European federation of origin wines, welcomes the inclusion of geographical indications (GIs) in the field of negotiations and hopes that this approach will allow a breakthrough in the protection of origin wines in the U.S. market.

The United States does not protect all European GI wines. In the U.S. market, which is the first export market for European wines accounting for about a third of extra-EU exports, a large number of GI wines are considered as generic or “semi-generic”. This lack of protection allows many producers to use GI names such as Chianti, Port, Champagne, Jerez or Tokay on their wines in the United States and to free-ride on the fame and reputation of European wines . The FTA with the United States represents a real opportunity to move forward with this thorny issue and reach an agreement which puts an end to the usurpation of GI wines.

EFOW’s President, Mr Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, welcomes “the mandate adopted by the Council which recognises the need for a better protection of European GIs in the United States.” He adds that “this is even more relevant given that the U.S. market represents a real challenge for the European wine sector. Today a growing number of our names are usurped and it is a great loss from an economic standpoint, but also in terms of reputation and consumer confidence in our wines“.